Fashion week dream comes true

21:03, Jan 24 2013
Clothing designed by Sam Ralph
Clothing created by Southland-raised fashion designer Sam Ralph, who has been selected as a finalist in the iD International Emerging Designer Awards later this year.

Southland-raised fashion designer Sam Ralph has ticked another thing off his wishlist after being selected as a finalist in the iD International Emerging Designer Awards.

The former James Hargest pupil, one of 31 fashion graduates chosen for the March event, said the selection topped off a successful 12 months.

"I'm very, very happy. My dream has been to show at iD fashion week ever since I came to Dunedin. It's just been a great year."

Ralph was also chosen as a Westpac Young Designer and was invited on a Fashion Academy Paris trip to China last year.

The emerging designer awards, part of iD Dunedin Fashion Week, showcase the work of fashion graduates from around the world, offering a prize of $5000 for the best collection.

The awards were a way for young designers to get a foot in the door of the "difficult industry", providing contacts, exposure and potentially jobs for entrants, Ralph said.

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He was surprised only three Dunedin designers were selected for the show, considering the calibre of his Otago Polytechnic fashion design class.

"I was almost disappointed. At the same time, I was very honoured to be named as one of the three."

His latest collection, the one he would show at iD, was "quite out of the box", more of an artistic venture than a commercial one.

"It couldn't really just sit in a store. It sort of tells the story of me as a designer."

Housed in his wardrobe, it featured elements of Indian and Asian culture, he said.

His trip to China, which included a photo shoot in a 2000-year-old water town dubbed "the Venice of China", gave Ralph more material for future designs.

"I get a lot of inspiration from Eastern cultures . . . so it's really cool to go to these places and see them firsthand. I took a million photos."

The iD International Emerging Designer Awards will be held at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin on March 14.

The Southland Times